Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
More than 79 per cent* of university students are now bringing digital devices to campus –driving universities to change their approach to the way they educate students.

Dr Katharina Franke research head at the eEducation Centre at Monash University says the so called ‘chalk and talk’ style of teaching does not always resonate with this generation.

She says at Monash instead of continually telling students off for having technology on hand – they decided to embrace it - and it’s paying off.

The University’s technology based teaching program has just seen it announced a winner in the State’s most coveted e-learning awards - the 2010 eLearning Industry Association of Victoria’s Excellence Awards.

Called ‘myLearningSpace’ judges described Monash’s ‘teaching and learning with tablets’ solution as “a genuinely innovative and engaging project - one that's pushing boundaries to achieve better learning outcomes”.

The technology uses Tablet PCs and the in-house developed collaborative software ‘MeTL’, allowing students to connect with one another, or with their teachers, and annotate imported content, share a virtual whiteboard, where they can collaborate, chat via text-based messages, and pick up lessons where they left off anywhere at any time.

Despite the technology based program only being launched in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences this year, Dr Franke says the results have been phenomenal - with more than 1,000 students and 200 teachers across ten faculties now involved.

“In 2009 during the pilot, 89 per cent of students said the approach made their classes more engaging, and the majority reported that it improved their motivation, helped them understand better, helped them keep up with the pace of the class and increased their interaction with the lecturer.”

She says the project is also having significant positive impacts on academic staff.

“Staff have reported improved understanding of content and perhaps most importantly, reflection about approaches to teaching.”

Monash’s deputy vice-chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker says the technology is reflective of what experiences students are already engaging in, translating this to education.

"We know that social networking sites have become so popular because they allow people to connect, engage and exchange personal information quickly and in real-time. MeTL allows students to do in-class what social networking sites do for students' social activities outside class. That is genuinely exciting.”

Box Hill Institute, which has also moved to a technology based learning program, was named a winner in the accredited learning category at the Excellence Awards.

Its solution, an online tool created to educate the next generation about the importance of sustainability, revolves around a virtual sustainable office block which allows students to create an avatar and move around a virtual 3D world, engaging in real time with other students and teachers.

Students learn about the importance of sustainability in their own course, whether it’s childcare or hospitality, and have to successfully complete this to gain their qualification.

It allows students to work across industries rather than the traditional centre or course based approach.

Box Hill’s project director Project Director Pauline Farrell says it has had the best uptake of
any new program the TAFE has undertaken.

Despite only being officially launched this year in March, close to 2,000 students and staff
logged on to use the program within the Generic Competencies project.

Farrell says that the Web 2.0 enabled learning pathway approach is definitely a preferred way of learning for this generation.

“It’s an exciting time for those involved - we are changing the face of not only what we educate students about, but how they learn, both skills imperative to a successful future in this age.”

- ends -

To interview Dr Katharina Franke of Monash, Pauline Farrell of Box Hill or for more information on the eLearning Industry Association of Victoria Excellence Awards please contact:

Kirstie Bedford
KDJM communications
T: 0437 455 001
E: [email protected]

*From Monash university’s commencing student ICT usage survey

Contact Profile

2010 eLearning Industry Association of Victoria’s Excellence Awards

About eLearning Industry Association of Victoria
The eLearning Industry Association of Victoria’s vision is to see Victoria recognised world-wide as a centre of excellence for e-learning.

It was created in 2006 and represents developers, producers, distributors, suppliers, consultants, advisors and the end user.

The association conducts research, hosts a website, organises events, collates and distributes all relevant industry information, represents the industry at relevant forums and is owner of the premier industry awards – the eLearning Excellence Awards.

For more information see: www.elearning.org.au

Kirstie Bedford
P: 0437455001
W: www.elearning.org.au/html/s01_home/home.asp


elearning, education, online, technology, awards



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